Oppo stunned India’s smartphone market when it launched the K1 last month. The Oppo K1 stood as the symbol of Chinese smartphone maker’s competitiveness in the segment since it made a novelty feature like the in-display fingerprint sensor mainstream with the retail price of Rs 16,990. With the new F11 Pro, Oppo wants to make mechanical pop-up camera mainstream. Both Oppo and Vivo were the first to toy with this idea of elevating camera design in the flagship segment last year, and this year, they are making the same feature even more affordable.
Vivo was the first to launch the V15 Pro with elevating front camera for Rs 28,990. Now, Oppo has launched its own variant priced at Rs 24,990. There isn’t much difference between the two devices, but they still are fundamentally different. In terms of design, the Oppo F11 Pro features a unibody construction with glass finish on the back for its tricolor gradient texture to shine. The elevating selfie camera, on the other hand, is placed at the center of the top side of the device. Oppo says the pop-up camera relies on the same mechanism that was seen on the Find X from last year, but the whole assembly and enclosure is much compact this time around.
Watch: Vivo V15 Pro First Look
While the cameras are placed on the left hand side of the Vivo V15 Pro, Oppo has opted for a center placement, which seems conservative in the right sense. The elevating camera aligns in line with the vertically stacked dual rear camera setup, which is followed by a fingerprint sensor. There is a new branding called “Designed by Oppo” reflecting the value of design in an age where two smartphones look almost identical while the refresh rate keeps shrinking in the budget segment. The power button is placed on the right side and while it is not textured, it is not recessed either that you won’t identify it easily. The SIM card tray sits on top of the power button while the left is home to volume rocker.
The Oppo F11 Pro also features a 3.5mm audio jack while the earpiece is molded between the body and the display. The design and its intricacy yields in a truly bezel-less smartphone. Meaning, the Oppo F11 Pro does not feature a notched display like its predecessor. There is a tiny chin but that is something seen even on more premium flagship like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+.
At the front, there is a 6.5-inch Full HD+ display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels, and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The display is bright and is easily viewable under direct sunlight but color accuracy is something I’ll have to test.
For imaging, there is a 48-megapixel main camera on the back, which is similar to the one found on smartphones like the Honor View20 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro. The sensor used here is the Sony IMX586, which has a pixel size of 0.8 micron stacked onto a 1/2-type unit. The 48-megapixel sensor is superior from that of a standard 12-megapixel sensor mainly in areas where you want to record more details. Since the sensor captures a lot of detail by default, it allows users to crop the image after the fact without losing any detail. The main camera is paired with a 5-megapixel sensor which aids with 2x telephoto zoom and depth effect only when you shoot in 12-megapixel and not the 48-megapixel mode.
I am more of a fan of the selfie camera than the rear camera. The selfie camera pops out of a housing on the top of the device when you switch camera from within the application. The immediate highlight is the mechanical noise made to indicate that a mechanical component is coming out of an enclosure. There are options for three different sound here but you can also opt for no sound at all.
The selfie shooter itself is a 16-megapixel sensor and it captures images that are extremely beautified with very cool skin tone. For instance, in one of the selfies, I looked so young that I could not believe it for a moment. The selfie shooter is not bad but right of the bag, the setting is not the most ideal one for shooting pictures. Tweaking the beauty mode for your own look and feel will make it work better with great details and vibrant or cheerful look throughout the image profile.
Oppo F11 Pro is also among the first devices to come preloaded with Color OS 6, a new custom version built on top of Android 9 Pie. The approach with Color OS 6 is centered around minimalism and the company has cut down some elements which were not popular among Color OS 5 users. The gesture interface is said to be faster and more intuitive but we haven’t noticed much difference just yet. There are also changes to efficiency and improvements to app launch times. We will have to spend some more time before discerning whether the F11 Pro delivers improvements in core + GPU performance. The smartphone is also backed by a 4,000mAh battery and now comes with VOOCC 3.0 support, which enables faster charging in a safer way. This needs to be tested along with the overall user experience to understand how better it is from its predecessor.
In a nutshell, the Oppo F11 Pro comes across as a strong device that nails not only engineering but also design. The gradient finish on the back of the device is not as breathtaking as that on Huawei flagship but it still feels good and subtle. The elevating camera does not take forever to pop-up and multiple times I have forcefully closed it by pressing on top of the shooter and it did not get stuck. There is adequate performance, memory and storage but the real question is about durability and whether it can survive for a longer duration of time.